In its sixth year, the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards received a record number of entries, and the judging committee noted scoring in each category was very close.

The committee also remarked that “pleasingly” there were 25 entries for the innovation award, with some interesting developments.

The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards recognise excellence in the industry and aim to encourage super funds to raise the bar in all aspects of their operations. The focus of the Awards is to honour funds that offer products and services that will ultimately lead to better retirement outcome for members. An independent committee selects the winners.

Funds are invited to nominate themselves for awards across 11 categories. The committee assesses a broad range of quantitative factors – including fees, investments and member services – and overlays this with a number of qualitative considerations.

This year the committee added a 10 per cent weighting to governance in its assessment of the funds’ offerings. This included an examination of gender balance at the board and executive level, director engagement and director tenure.

The committee members, including special adviser Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chair Helen Rowell, were of the opinion that good governance is an important ingredient for fund success. Accordingly, the shortlist of finalists will be asked some additional questions regarding the nature and quality of their trustees’ performance assessment.

Taking a holistic view is important in assessing the winners, including evaluating whether a fund’s purpose is being met, the committee stated.

The 2018 Fund of the Year will be awarded to the nominee the committee believes has the best broad proposition, and the highest level of innovation and overall excellence.

In 2017, UniSuper took out the prestigious Fund of the Year tile for the second year running (UniSuper chair Chris Cuffe pictured on the night).

The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards judging committee remains the only truly independent awards panel in the sector. For the 2018 awards, it has broad representation from all areas of the industry – including the retail and industry fund sectors – and consumer representation. This is complemented by the perspectives of two offshore chief investment officers.

The 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are sponsored by event partner AIA Australia. All the winners will be announced at a special black-tie event on March 8 at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. Tickets now available, visit conexussuperawards.com.au